The writer’s marathon

The final days of November are stressful for writers who take on the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s an international event held every November and attracts more than 100,000 writers who try to turn the story in their heads or on stacks of notes into at least a 50,000 word manuscript. That works out to writing about 1,700 words a day.

About 10% are successful. However most of the rest have still achieved the main goal of NaNoWriMo—cobbling together the first draft of what might be a published novel after a lot more work. That is the true beauty of NaNoing along with meeting other writers if you participate in the local write-ins and other events. You can learn a lot more about it at

Starting with the first words, the writer is striving to pull the story out of his or her head onto the computer screen (with regular backups) without stopping to edit or revise. Save that for December. The main lesson is once you start a story, keeping writing until you have run out of ideas. Wring the cloth as dry as you can. That applies any time you’re writing a new story.

Someone once compared writing to building a house. The latter usually requires scaffolding for the trades to work from. When the house is finished, the scaffolding is removed. Not all the words, ideas, events and characters of a first draft survive revising and editing. They may disappear completely having served their purpose of moving the story along. Or they may emerge bigger and brighter.

I started four stories by participating in NaNo and hopefully two at least will be published in 2016—By Intelligent Design and Ultimate Wizard.

If you ever thought about writing a book, NaNo is probably the best way to try. It will lead to other writers and local authors’ groups.  Maybe someday your own book will be published.